Fulham boss Mark Hughes praised Blackburn Rovers for putting up a terrific fight in the Cottagers’ 3-2 home win on Saturday.
Rovers twice came from behind in the English Premier League encounter to level with Fulham following a Damien Duff brace, but Bobby Zamora eventually clinched the three points for the hosts with a late penalty.
Hughes paid tribute to his former employers after the thrilling contest, while also praising his players for standing up to the challenge.
“It was a difficult game today, Blackburn are a very strong side, I love their physicality and they kept us on our toes,” Hughes told Sky Sports.
“For long periods we weren’t able to play as we wanted to and that’s the pressure that Blackburn put us under, but we stuck to it and were determined to get the ball down and play our stuff.”
“We created a number of chances in the first half, converted one of them, and restricted Blackburn to very few.”
“(The) second half went back and forth, to and fro, and we really tried to keep momentum and I think we did that.”
“I think we were brave, we wanted to play our stuff, and kept on creating chances and got our noses in front again.”
“Thankfully, in the end, we got the benefit of a penalty decision and we’re pleased about that.”
Steve Kean felt referee Mark Clattenburg’s decision to award Fulham the match-winning penalty – after Grant Hanley was adjudged to have fouled Aaron Hughes – was harsh, but the Blackburn boss stopped short of criticising the official.
“I asked the referee to look at the situation and his recollection is that Grant Hanley had both hands around Aaron Hughes and that’s why he gave the penalty,” Kean said.
“I’ve looked at it again a number of times and I think, technically, he’s right – there is contact.”
“But what I said to him is that, if that’s a penalty, then you’ll probably have at least ten every Premier League week.”
“So, we feel aggrieved, but we’ll accept his decision, he has a very hard job and we respect his interpretation.”
“(We feel) very hard done by, I feel we did well in every single minute of the game.”
“If we only got a point from this game we’d have been disappointed and now, to find myself without any points, it really is a tough day.”